US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and ex-Ford executive Stephen Biegun are going to North Korea.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Ford Motor executive Stephen Biegun as the country’s special representative to North Korea ahead of a trip there next week to persuade the Asian nation to abandon its nuclear weapons.
“Steve will direct US policy towards North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump’s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea as agreed to by Kim Jong-Un,” Pompeo told reporters on Thursday.
“He and I will be travelling to North Korea next week to make further diplomatic progress towards our objective,” Pompeo said.
It will be Pompeo’s fourth trip this year aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States.
It will be his second since an unprecedented June summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un that produced much fanfare but little obvious progress.
Commenting on the North Korea situation, Biegun said “the issues are tough, and will be tough to resolve”, but added that Trump had created an opening and “it’s one that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realise the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea.”
Biegun served as vice president of international governmental affairs for Ford for 14 years. The company announced his retirement earlier on Thursday.
Before joining Ford, Biegun served as national security adviser to then Republican senate majority leader Bill Frist.
Prior to that, he worked in former President George W Bush’s White House from 2001-2003 as executive secretary of the National Security Council.
He also served as a senior staff member to Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.
John Lennon’s killer has been denied parole for a 10th time and will remain behind bars for at least two more years.
Mark David Chapman appeared before New York’s parole board on Wednesday.
In a denial decision obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, the board said it had determined Chapman’s release “would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law.”
Chapman, 63, shot and killed the former Beatle outside Lennon’s Manhattan apartment on December 8, 1980. He is serving 20-years-to-life in the Wende Correctional Facility in western New York.
“You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety,” the parole panel wrote in its denial decision.
“While no one person’s life is any more valuable than another’s life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world renown person and beloved by millions, regardless of the pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others.”
It said releasing Chapman would not only “tend to mitigate the seriousness of your crime,” but also would endanger public safety because someone might try to harm him out of anger or revenge or to gain similar notoriety.
As Chapman faced the parole panel on Wednesday, politicians and fans called for his release to be denied during a rally at Strawberry Fields, Lennon’s memorial in Central Park across from his former home.
A transcript of the parole hearing wasn’t immediately released. At previous hearings, Chapman has said he still gets letters about the pain he caused and was sorry for choosing the wrong path to fame.
Chapman will be up for parole again in August 2020.
Scott Morrison is taking over a bruised and battered federal government but he’s promising sceptical Australians “we are on your side”.
He lined up drought, electricity prices, chronic illness healthcare and economic management as his immediate priorities as the incoming prime minister.
“There has been a lot of talk this week about whose side people are on in this building,” Mr Morrison said while standing next to his new deputy leader Josh Frydenberg in Canberra on Friday.
“What Josh and I are here to tell you, as the new generation of Liberal leadership, is that we are on your side.”
It came after an embarrassing week for the nation, which has its fifth prime minister in just over five years.
“The last week has been about us and from here on, it is about the Australian people,” incoming treasurer Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Morrison was officially sworn in as Australia’s 30th prime minister on Friday night in a ceremony at Government House in Canberra.
He won the ballot to replace Malcolm Turnbull in a Liberal party meeting on Friday, defeating Peter Dutton 45 votes to 40.
Mr Turnbull farewelled the top job with a sunny smile and relieved expression, but he lashed out at the men who destabilised the party.
“Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others who chose to deliberately attack the government from within, they did so because they wanted to bring the government down,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.
The Wentworth MP will leave parliament “soon”, potentially handing Mr Morrison a by-election to deal with and – if the seat is lost – a hung parliament.
But Mr Morrison said he looked forward to any campaign, while also ruling out an early general election.
For his part, Mr Dutton said he would now be loyal to Mr Morrison.
“I only nominated because I believe that I was a better person and a person of greater strength and integrity to lead the Liberal Party,” Mr Dutton told the ABC.
The leadership contest started with a dispute over energy policy, and while Mr Morrison promised to keep prices down, he did not commit to sticking with the National Energy Guarantee.
Mr Turnbull tried to short circuit the leadership tension with a snap ballot on Tuesday, which he won 48 votes to 35.
But when it became clear Mr Dutton wanted a second challenge, Mr Turnbull called a meeting for Friday to give Mr Morrison and Julie Bishop time to do their own numbers.
The spill motion at the meeting only passed 45-40, meaning Mr Turnbull would have needed just three votes to swing his way to stay on as prime minister.
Ms Bishop lost out in the first three-way contest for the leadership and did not stand again as deputy leader, but Mr Morrison indicated she could stay on in the ministry.
Former prime minister Mr Abbott told reporters the job now was to “save the government”.
“We have lost the prime minister but there is still a government to save,” he said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Mr Turnbull, the man who beat him at the 2016 election, for his love of his family and his country.
“I don’t think any Australian prime minister has used the word ‘love’ more frequently in his public remarks,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.
Penrith’s Nathan Cleary could do his dad, Tiger’s coach Ivan, a big favour by beating the Warriors.The NRL finals fate of Ivan Cleary’s West Tigers will be partly in the hands of his son and Penrith halfback Nathan on Friday night.
Cleary has spent the season talking about his desire to work with Nathan but his first born can do him an immediate favour by leading the Panthers to defeat the Warriors.
He’d also fancy the 20-year-old helping Penrith put a score on their Auckland hosts.
It would be one of the several results that will assist the Tigers as they hope to keep their finals hopes alive after they held out Manly 22-20 on Thursday night at Campbelltown.
The Tigers now need either the Warriors or Brisbane to lose both their last two games, and then coach Cleary’s men must also beat South Sydney at ANZ Stadium next Thursday night.
The Warriors games are against the Panthers and Canberra, while the Broncos face the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night and the Sea Eagles next Sunday.
Crucially, the Tigers still need a significant for-and-against swing to go in their favour on both teams after they blew the chance to pile the points on Manly after leading 22-8 midway through the second half on Thursday.
“There’s a certain No.7 who knows what to do. Hopefully they can do their job over there,” Cleary said of Nathan.
“I’ll sit there and watch, but what can you do? You’ve just got to cross your fingers.
“It’s great we’re still alive at this point.”
If the Tigers remain a chance headed into next weekend, they’ll again have the advantage of playing first against the Rabbitohs to put pressure on the teams above them.
The joint-venture also go into the game knowing they dealt the Rabbitohs their second-heaviest defeat of the season last month, and have won five-from-seven against the current top-four teams this year.
“It definitely helps if you’ve beaten sides before,” Cleary said.
“We’ve shown that we can beat the best teams. We’re going to have to play a fair bit better though.
Scott Morrison will have one eye on the drought and the other on repairing a divided Liberal Party in his first weeks as Australian prime minister.
Mr Morrison was sworn in as the nation’s 30th prime minister on Friday night after defeating Peter Dutton in a leadership ballot to replace Malcolm Turnbull.
Former energy minister Josh Frydenberg will serve as his treasurer and deputy leader, replacing Julie Bishop.
“There has been a lot of talk this week about whose side people are on in this building,” Mr Morrison told reporters at parliament house.
“What Josh and I are here to tell you, as the new generation of Liberal leadership, is that we are on your side.”
Mr Morrison says the drought crippling Australia’s eastern states is his highest priority.
His first order of business will be meeting newly-appointed national drought co-ordinator Stephen Day.
“This is our most urgent and pressing need right now,” Mr Morrison said.
He focused heavily on economic management and national security during his first public remarks, stressing everyone must “play by the rules”.
“Whether you are a big business setting electricity prices or loaning money, or you are just someone parking in the street, we’ve all got to live by the rules of this country, the law of our land.”
Mr Morrison batted away questions about why the Liberal Party tore down a sitting prime minister.
“You are looking at two people who did not do that today and were very loyal and committed to the government that we were privileged to form part of,” he said.
However, Mr Morrison acknowledged he must also work to heal a party left “battered and bruised” after a bitter insurrection.
“Today our team needs to look at the events of this week and how that has impacted on them,” he said.
“Where there needs to be changes, they will be made. Where there needs to be continuity, that will be maintained.”
The incoming prime minister paid tribute to the “noble, professional” way Mr Turnbull served the country.
“He is a great Australian who has contributed a great deal to this country and our party and our nation will be very grateful for his contribution,” Mr Morrison said.
He also talked up the “rock star” contributions of Ms Bishop in driving foreign policy.
“I will be talking to her, obviously, about what role she would like to play in the government we will now seek to put together.”
His leadership rival Mr Dutton will also be offered a ministry.
“I look forward, if he so chooses, for him to be playing a role in the government which I intend to lead,” Mr Morrison said.
The incoming prime minister has named power prices, chronic illness, affordable medicines and small business among his key policy concerns.
“The work of government continues,” he said.
Mr Morrison must now work out his ministerial line-up and redraft the coalition agreement with the National Party.
In the not too distant future, he will also need to prepare for a by-election in the inner Sydney seat of Wentworth when Mr Turnbull resigns.
“I look forward to my first electoral test as a government. I look forward to it, I relish it,” Mr Morrison said.
Trent Barrett believes his coaching will improve after his uncomfortable year at NRL club Manly.Trent Barrett insists he’ll be a better coach for his dramatic year at Manly ahead of what’s likely to be his last week at the helm of the NRL club.
Barrett again opted against firing back at Sea Eagles management following Thursday 22-20 loss to the Wests Tigers, but maintains a statement will come shortly.
Manly have bounced from scandal to scandal this year, not limited to salary cap breaches, their disastrous Gladstone trip, a player shortage and form slumps before Barrett’s public fallout with management.
Barrett is all but certain to end his three-year tenure with the club in the coming weeks, after telling management he was unhappy with the scant resources for his football department including the absence of a recruitment manager, a pathways coach and a director of football.
Those points have all been countered by owner Scott Penn, who claims space has been allocated in the budget for the roles requested by Barrett.
But regardless the coach says he’ll be better off after his year from hell.
“It has been a hard year but it’s all experience too and I will be better for it, and a better coach, for some of the things I’ve had to go through,” Barrett said.
“I do love coaching. The best time of my week is when I’m with the players in the video room, on the training paddock and game day.
“Some of the other stuff that goes with it you can do without but that’s part of the job.
“It will make me a better coach down the track, I’ve got no doubt.”
Barrett believe his Sea Eagles players will also be better after the difficult year.
Manly have fielded one of the youngest teams in the NRL this year, and it’s shown, with the team dropping a seven games after they led during the second half.
Too often this season they have conceded back-to-back tries, as they did on Thursday night, letting in three in just five minutes without touching the ball.
“There is a lesson in it for a lot of our young blokes because your footy career can go extremely quickly. You’ve just got to take your chances when they come,” Barrett said.
“Experience will give you an idea of what to do in those times.
“When they go back-to-back how do they change momentum when we don’t have the ball.
“Momentum in the game today is huge. And you’ve seen a lot of teams in strong positions (go on) to lose it on the back of no possession in 10 minutes.
“It can happen and it’s happened quite a few times this year. Our players have got to learn how to change it.”
Rugby league identities have reacted with shock following the sudden death of former St George Illawarra and Cronulla player Lance Thompson.
The 40-year-old was found dead at an apartment on The Kingsway, Cronulla about 9pm on Thursday, reportedly by his teenage daughter.
His death is not being treated as suspicious and there was no evidence of self harm, police say.
Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter Beattie has led tributes for Thompson, saying his death was a loss to the sport.
“A very sad day for rugby league with the passing of NRL star Lance Thompson,” Beattie tweeted.
“A much-loved member of the rugby league community. Condolences to his family.”
Thompson will be remembered at the Dragons’ final game at Kogarah for the season against Canterbury on Sunday when the players wear black armbands.
The City Origin representative played alongside current coach Paul McGregor at the merged club between 1999 and 2001.
“Lance was a colourful, earnest rugby league character and a loyal friend of many at the Dragons,” Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said.
“We are all are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts are with his family.”
His loss has been felt heavily at the Sharks, where he played between 2006-2008.
Coach Shane Flanagan was an assistant coach at the club for Thompson’s final two years in the NRL, while Paul Gallen was captain and Jayson Bukuya was a youngster in the squad.
“The club is deeply saddened by Lance’s passing. He was loved and respected by all at the club and our prayers and thoughts go out to his family,” Sharks CEO Barry Russell said.
Manly coach Trent Barrett, Newcastle coach Nathan Brown and NRL referee Henry Perenara are among others to have played alongside him.
Perenara is listed to officiate the Dragons’ game against the Bulldogs.
Other former teammates also took to social media to pay tribute.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Thompson family,” Anthony Mundine posted on Twitter.
“Thommo was one of the most genuine people I have known who cared for his family and friends RIP my brother.”
Making his first grade debut at 17, Thompson played 239 first grade games, 201 with the Dragons and 38 with the Sharks.
The veteran backrower went into retirement in 2008 as his body broke down after 14 years in the NRL.
At the time, Thompson was battling a knee injury and cited his long-term health and inability to keep up with his young daughter as reasons to call it quits at age 30, while he was later diagnosed with type-one diabetes.
A report into Thompson’s death will be prepared for the coroner.
Sydney FC marquee player Siem De Jong, unveiled Thursday, could be joined by another new attacker.Sydney FC coach Steve Corica is leaning toward filling his final import spot with another midfielder or striker, despite being confident he has covered the losses of Bobo and Adrian Mierzejewski
The Sky Blues had two massive holes to fill after the departures of Poland’s Mierzejewski, the Johnny Warren medallist for 2017-18, and Brazilian Bobo, who set an A-League season scoring record.
Sydney looked at over 400 overseas players before settling on a couple of replacements.
Last week they signed English striker Adam le Fondre, and on Thursday, secured Netherlands international midfielder-forward Siem de jong on a season-long loan from Dutch giants Ajax.
“We had to make sure we had the right players to fill Bobo and Adrian(‘s places), they scored 40 (A-League goals last season) between them,” Corica told AAP.
“But I believe these two will fit in really well, to the club and the structures that we want to play.”
Corica said de Jong and le Fondre would each play around 45 minutes of a practice match behind closed doors next Tuesday.
The new recruits join Serbian international playmaker Milos Ninkovic and Dutch defender Jop van der Linden in Sydney’s import contingent.
They still have one import place left, but Corica is no rush to fill that vacancy.
“‘I’m going to take my time, I’d love to see these two (le Fondre and de Jong) play a few games first,” Corica said.
“We have a very good defence, with these two coming into the attack to strengthen that.
“Then we’ll see from there, maybe it might be another midfielder or striker. I think it will be more of that than a defender, I think defensively we’ve got things covered.”
Corica said he would use de Jong as both a No.10 and a second striker.
De Jong has thrived in the latter role in the past and believes he can do so again in support of le Fondre, who like himself has English Premier League experience.
“I scored a lot of goals being the second striker, so for me hopefully I can do that here as well,” de Jong added.
Everything Peter Dutton has done in his career has been characterised by a tenacious approach.In his first speech to federal parliament 16 years ago, Peter Dutton paid tribute to his parents.
“Their outstanding quality is their tenacity,” he said in February 2002.
It’s a character trait Dutton has in spades.
Everything the 47-year-old has done in his career has been characterised by a tenacious approach.
He’s often said that as a Queensland police officer for almost a decade in the 1990s he saw the “best and the worst that society has to offer”.
“I have seen the wonderful, kind nature of people willing to offer any assistance to those in their worst hour, and I have seen the sickening behaviour displayed by people who, frankly, barely justify their existence in our sometimes over-tolerant society.”
Dutton is most often seen as the hard-nosed immigration minister who “stopped the boats” by militarising the department and taking an icy cold approach to the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers in offshore detention – sending the strongest possible signal to people-smugglers.
He’s also been known for a sharp tongue, once describing a journalist as a “mad f…ing witch” – for which he later apologised.
But he also has a softer, empathetic side, such as overturning visa decisions when special cases are put to him.
And he regularly gets emotional, tearing up recently in a radio interview and in parliament when Labor MP Anne Aly described the racism she experienced.
Dutton is Liberal Party to his bootstraps.
Joining the party in the northern Brisbane outskirts at 18, he found a natural fit in an organisation which valued individualism, reward for achievement and traditional values.
He was first elected to the Brisbane seat of Dickson in 2001 and went on to successive victories, in a seat full of aspiring small business people and industrial sheds.
In 2004, John Howard saw value in appointing Dutton as workforce participation minister, then later revenue and assistant treasurer before Kevin Rudd toppled the coalition government in 2007.
One of the most common refrains in Dutton’s many speeches is that Labor stands for nothing because of its ultra-pragmatism – the “whatever it takes” mentality so well defined by former Labor minister Graham Richardson.
It was with that in mind he was effective in keeping the Rudd-Gillard- Rudd Labor government on its toes as opposition spokesman for finance, deregulation and health.
Then with the return of the coalition under Tony Abbott in 2013 he became health minister.
However it was as immigration minister and more recently home affairs he found his niche and a true outlet for his tenacity.
Dutton went to the back bench after failing to defeat Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot on Tuesday, and on Friday will give it another go.